Rich Galen
As you are no doubt aware, Monday's schedule for the Republican National Convention in Tampa was cancelled due to fears of Tropical Storm Isaac becoming Hurricane Isaac, and Hurricane Isaac taking dead aim at Tampa.

Even if you hadn't heard this on the radio or on your local news, you knew it when you tuned in to watch convention activities and were greeted by the cable news channels' equivalent of "Rain Out Theater."

When I was growing up on Long Island, if the Yankees or Mets were rained out I could be pretty sure a Hopalong Cassidy movie would be playing in its place, which I thought was a pretty good trade.

Four years ago, the GOP cancelled its Monday session as another hurricane - Gustav - was bearing down on the Louisiana coast having crossed over Haiti and Cuba. The same general track as Isaac.

Decisions will be made regarding how to conduct the rest of the schedule. As of this writing the convention will have at least one afternoon session - today - then sessions Wednesday and Thursday nights culminating with the acceptance speech of Gov. Mitt Romney.

My un-asked-for advice was to move forward but tone down some of the hilarity that obtains during these events as the storm heads for New Orleans later in the week.

Tom Beaumont of the Associated Press quoted me as saying [how much to I like quoting myself? Thisssssssssss much!]

"You can tone down the happy-days-are-here-again a bit. Maybe you don't have the biggest balloon drop in history."

The Democrats' convention, which begins next Tuesday, was already cut to three days (a) as a sop to organized labor for not having a session on Labor Day and (b) because of its own funding rules (no corporate money) reduced the amount of money available for a fourth day.

That being the case it is now obvious that these conventions cannot survive in their current form which has remained essentially unchanged since the first one in 1831.

Conventions are important. The acceptance speeches of the major candidates draw the largest all-at-the-same-time audience of any event in the process not counting Inauguration Day.

The major over-the-air networks have committed only one hour of prime time coverage in each of the three days. Because of the Dems' schedule, the nets refused to add Monday to their coverage of the Romney convention, but that became moot over the weekend.

But, does process get its money's worth out of the hundreds of millions of dollars (much of them public funds) spent on these two conventions?


We're talking about using a 19th century event to make a case for our candidate in the 21st century.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at